TEDx-perience hits UCL

UCL’s first TEDx event arrived on campus on Sunday. The Buzz interviews speakers and hears their "ideas worth sharing"

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On Sunday UCL hosted its first TEDx conference, an event bringing together a number of speakers “in the spirit of ideas worth spreading”.

The Buzz was on hand to interview two UCL postgraduate students who were speaking at the event as well as audience members who were impressed by the experience.

The aim of TED is to challenge us to view the world from a different point of view and to consider things in a different way from before. Ilya Zheludev and Ravi Das were two UCL student speakers who were aiming to do just that, speaking on social networks and drug addiction respectively.

Ilya (photo 2)admitted that whilst the build up to his talk had been slightly “stressful” it had also been a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

“The aim of TED is to spread info quickly outside the scientific community in a fun environment” he told The Buzz, “The scientific community is often a closed club and by the time ideas reach the outside world they are either outdated or interpreted in the wrong way by journalists.”

His talk focused on the ability of social networking websites to ‘predict the future’ and the way in which they look into the mind of the individual in a way which has never been possible before.

“Social networking could be a bubble which will burst” he stated, “and this ability to ‘read our minds’ is not necessarily a bad thing but essentially Facebook and other sites are now tools for advertising businesses and are no longer about the user.”

These concepts are the sort of ideas which TED seeks to deliver to a wider audience, with Ravi Das’s (photo 3) talk on the attempts to cure drug addiction another example.

Like Ilya his view was that the TEDx event had been “really easy to follow” and had allowed the sharing of ideas in a clear and straightforward manner.

“It benefits the speakers just as much as the audience,” he said, “it’s obviously a responsibility of people to not take for granted what they hear in the media but it’s also the responsibility of the scientific community to get things across properly to people. I think giving speeches here today helps with that for both parties.”

The positive reaction was shared by students in the audience. Zara Tobias, a first year undergrad, said that the talks were “unlike anything I’ve ever been to at UCL” and that they had made her realise that she wanted to “go into a career that is about people.”

“The talks on sociology have made me realise that I’m interested in why people do what they do” she stated.

Another member of the audience gave a response that seemed to sum up the views of many and said that TEDx was “the best thing I’ve ever been to at UCL”.


With views like that prevalent it seems TEDx has been a success in its debut year. Those present will no doubt be eager to see whether that success will translate into it returning in the near future.